I AM Freedom NOW

Freedom can’t be won, given, taught or bought. It is your inheritance, your birthright. You are who you are, and this is your freedom. Freedom is not who you think you are, not who you have been taught to be, not who you want to be, not even who you think you can be, but who you are NOW. Freedom is knowing you are you. No matter what you might think, you have always been you, will always be you and can be nothing but you. As Popeye, one of the greatest philosophers of all time, said, “I yam what I yam, and that's all I yam.” I am what I am in this moment and nothing else. Knowing this provides the only freedom you can have and savor.

The fragrance you emit into the universe is a result of your freedom, or lack of it. When you allow you, the Buddha within, to blossom, you have the fragrance and elegance of the most beautiful flower. When you allow your ego to be projected, then the flower begins to fade, shrink and die. The more the ego, the less the presence of the flower and the more the stench of death and enslavement.

This freedom carries with it a great deal of responsibility. You must accept the responsibility for your very being, for the fragrance you are emitting moment to moment. When you are here and now, your ego is no longer the source of who you are. Your ego always prevents you from recognizing your total freedom. Your ego keeps you enslaved in a world of desire, wishing, wanting, needing, expecting and hoping.

What is your ego? It is your mind, personality and thoughts. It traps you in a world of materialism, or spiritualism, or some other ism. In fact, there is absolutely no difference between any of the isms. Look at closely at two opposite isms, materialism and spiritualism. Are they different? They seem to be. One is seeking eartly things and the other is seeking Godly things. Appearances are deceiving. They are identical. What makes them seem different is their outward appearance, not their basic ideologies. Bottom line, both isms are seeking, wanting and desiring something. Anyone who is involved in either ism believes that he or she is missing something. The materialist is missing concrete things and the spiritualist is missing abstract things. What is the difference? They are both, seeking, wanting, desiring and striving for something that they believe they are missing! The reality is that all isms are based in the ego, the mind, with the idea that there is a path, a way, somewhere to go. Freedom comes when you recognize that you have always been whatever it is that you think you need to be. You simply have to open your eyes and recognize the totality of the space you are in. Freedom comes from within and not from externals, beliefs, ideologies or religions.

What is the meaning of freedom from within? The absurdity is that freedom from within can’t be defined. It is simply a state of being. Attempting to explain its meaning loses the experience of freedom to concepts and ideologies. Still, it is important to understand that you experience this freedom with your heart, not with your head. You must also understand that even though freedom from within can’t be taught, you must learn the ways of freedom. You must find and walk the path of freedom. What a paradox: The truth is there is no path to freedom, but at the same time, you must place yourself on the path to freedom in order to find it. Finding it occurs as an incidental outcome of seeking. As long as you are seeking freedom, you do not have it, otherwise why would you be seeking it? The fact is that you believe you do not have it. Furthermore, seeking the path of freedom will prevent you from seeing the truth. YOU ARE FREEDOM! Still, if you do not see your freedom in this moment, NOW, you must do something until you do recognize it. Hence, the path does serve an absurd purpose. The purpose is to seek, to search, to do whatever is necessary in order for you to find freedom. You must continue this search with a total commitment. You do this until you get so tired of the search that you finally say, “I quit.” Saying this can’t and doesn’t come from your head, but from your very being. Once this happens, you will, for a split second, find absolute freedom. Whether or not you keep that freedom is up to you.

A couple of short stories help illustrate the finding and keeping of freedom. First story: A man was searching for God. He went from door to door in his search for God. He was relentless in his search. One day, he opened a door and lo and behold, there was God. What a joy, he had finally found God! Then reality hit him. Now that he found God, what was he to do? He had spent his whole life searching, and now the search was over. He became so frightened about the future that he slammed the door shut. Now he is back opening door after door looking for God. Second story: Mulla Nasrudin went on a train ride. The conductor came over to him and asked him for his train ticket. Mulla searched his luggage, the area around him, every pocket in his jacket except the inside left pocket, and even the luggage of other people. Finally, the conductor, amazed and confused, asked Mulla why he did not check his inside left pocket. Mulla said that if he looked and it wasn’t there he would be devastated. He did not want to give up hope. He decided that it is better to hope than to actual take a risk and go within. How many times have you heard people say, “Don’t give up hope?”

Inner Awareness Mastery NOW® (I AM NOW™) is such a path to freedom. The starting point of I AM NOW™ is that you must learn to know who and what you are. This can only happen by first reflecting on who you are, then becoming the watcher of who you are, and eventually jumping into awareness of who you are. What you are reflecting upon and watching is your mind, thoughts, feelings and actions. Once you become the watcher, the realization begins to form that your lack of freedom can only come because of thoughts generated by your mind. When you finally do jump into awareness, you are freedom.

Your mind creates a false reality. It creates, what the Hindi call Maya or the great illusion. You see what your mind creates, rather than being the experience of what is happening. You interpret your world, based on your Prior Thoughts, e.g. your needs, wishes, wants, desire, expectations, shoulds and should nots. As long as your mind is focused on desires and expectations, you can’t be free. The mind with all its Prior Thoughts prevents you from being free. These Prior Thoughts can be about external or internal influences. Some typical external Prior Thoughts are: “I want my son to do well in school.” “I want to be free.” “I want to stop world poverty.” “I want a new car.” “I want a new toy.” “ I want my parents to treat me as an adult, and respect me.” “I expect you to do it my way.” “You should stand straight.” “I hope I get over this cold.” “I wish I could afford that new home.” “I need to know what you are feeling.” Some typical internal Prior Thoughts are: “I really want to meet women, but I don’t know how to talk to them.” “I hope I can overcome my shyness.” “I expect to be able to concentrate better.” “I need to remember.” “I wish I could do it like I used to.”

The process of reflecting on who you are begins by recognizing your Prior Thoughts. However, that’s not enough. You must also reflect on your emotions. You must be able discriminate between your thoughts and your feelings. In addition, you must be able to recognize how your thoughts interact with your feelings and how both your thoughts and feelings interact with your behavior. Through this process, you will start to take real responsibility for your Trinity of Life: your thoughts, feelings and behavior. As you take responsibility, you also learn that your ego is based on power and control. As you become the watcher of the drama that you are enacting, at the time of your enacting it, the more you see this game of ego you are playing. Just seeing it you understand its absurdity and this helps you drop the issues of power and control. You begin dropping your ego.

Freedom is then not far away. In fact, it will be so close to you that you will swear that you can almost taste it. Just a little push will be needed. This little push can come from meditating. When you meditate, you will move from watching the game unfold to having awareness of NOW. With awareness, your ego will disappear. All that will be left is the NOW. There will be no issue of power or control. There will be no issue of yesterday or tomorrow. You will simply be you and free.

Freedom can only exist when you are in the moment, the NOW. When you drop your ego and truly live NOW, you no longer seek or strive for freedom, you are freedom. Then, there is no question as to what freedom means, whether you have it, or if you should seek it. The moment you recognize your freedom, you will experience the true beauty of all that is. Remember, you simply are freedom. Freedom is your birthright. Freedom is always with you. You are freedom! Freedom is NOW!

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